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Reactions To State Of The Commonwealth Along Party Lines

NPP Delegation Describes Address As 'Publicity Stunt'

Reactions To State Of The Commonwealth Along Party Lines

By Proviana Colon Diaz

February 13th, 2002
Copyright © 2002
PRWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

Not surprisingly, reactions to Gov. Sila Calderon's State of the Commonwealth address were positive from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) majority and negative from both the New Progressive Party (NPP) and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) minorities.

For PIP Sen. Fernando Martin, the message had both its good and bad aspects.

Martin congratulated Calderon on her firm stand against corruption and all the legislation to fight it. However, he noted that the message failed to contain any new piece of economic legislation and added that the governor neglected the economic sector.

In addition, the announcement of a salary increase for public employees when throughout the week it had been said that no such thing would occur was seen as a "mockery" to the feelings of the working class.

Martin's ally in the House of Representatives, Victor Garcia San Inocencio, agreed with the fact that there were good and bad things said.

"Strength in the part that had to do with electoral reform and anti-corruption measures; absolute weakness in the great absent theme of the night - environmental protection," Garcia San Inocencio said.

The representative added that budget wise there are several measures that he did not believe will bring in the funds expected, such as the $30 million that would come from additional drawings of the lotto, which in his opinion is neither "morally nor fiscally advisable."

For his part, House NPP Minority Leader Anibal Vega Borges said in general terms his biggest concern continues to be "where the funds will come from" and wonders when the announced salary increase to government employees will go into effect as Calderon failed to mention the date.

NPP Sen. Norma Burgos also criticized the proposed salary increase as it fails to do justice to public service employees.

Both Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora and House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo, for their part, made a commitment to allocate the funds as promised by Calderon.

NPP Delegation Describes Address As `Publicity Stunt'

By Proviana Colon Diaz

February 13th, 2002
Copyright © 2002
PRWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

The New Progressive Party (NPP) delegation in the House of Representatives and the Senate described Gov. Sila Calderon's State of the Commonwealth address as a "publicity stunt," which failed to explain where the funds to pay for a proposed salary increase to all public employees would come from.

Furthermore, the delegation denounced that Calderon's message failed to provide solutions to the problems of much concern to the people - "crime and the financing of the health card."

"Part of that stunt and image exercise is the announcement of an alleged $100 monthly increase to public employees.the governor still has to explain where the money for the alleged increase will come," House Minority Speaker Anibal Vega Borges said.

Alternate House Minority Leader Iris Miriam Ruiz added that Calderon's message was but a mere recycle of ideas proposed by Gov. Pedro Rossello's administration with new names.

For example, Calderon's housing program is called "the key to your home," when Rossello's proposed program was called "the key to your safe home."

Senate Minority Leader Kenneth McClintock said the proposed plan to save the "alleged structural deficit" is by urging Puerto Rican families to get into more debt, by gambling more, and paying more for all terrain vehicles.

Meanwhile in a separate press conference shortly after, NPP Sen. Norma Burgos also criticized Calderon's message as one of negative terms of the economic and social development of the island.

By urging people to retrieve funds from their Investment Retirement Accounts [IRA] to generate funds for the budget, Calderon is thinking as the banker and stock owner that she is and not as a governor, Burgos said.

"She is encouraging people to retrieve massive funds from what they have saved for their retirement, when people reach the age of retirement they will have no funds. This is a penalty without precedent in public politics," Burgos said.

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